‘This is the information we’ve been waiting on:’ FEMA updates Surfside on pier money

The Town of Surfside Beach has finally received verbal agreement from FEMA that it will fund the pier that was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew, along with the desired improvements.

“We participated in a conference call with FEMA where we were advised that FEMA has an update for us,” acting administrator and Surfside Beach Police Chief Kenneth Hofmann said. “Today, FEMA provided informal and non-binding verbal approval to the Town of Surfside Beach, which will allow the pier to be included in FEMA’s 428 public assistance alternative procedures program. So this is the information we’ve been waiting on.”

This means that FEMA should allow funding “for both replacement of the pier and the hazard mitigation to make the pier more resilient in future storms,” Hofmann said.

Funding for the pier has been a long time coming for the town, after the town asked for $9.2 million from FEMA, which would allow officials to build a concrete pier.

During a town council meeting on Tuesday, councilwoman Julie Samples expressed concerns that the confirmation was just a verbal agreement, but Mayor Bob Childs remained optimistic.

“For once I feel good about the federal government helping us on this pier,” Childs said. “We’re going to get a good pier, a really resilient pier. Everybody keep their fingers crossed and I believe in a couple of weeks or so we should hear something positive.”

Megan Tomasic: 843-626-0343, @MeganTomasic